If you sit down alot for work or having trouble squatting properly, the chances are your hips are tight and may not move as well as you like. Having tight hips can negatively impact both exercise & athletic performance and sometimes compromise exercise safety. If you feel that you lack the power in doing heavy kettlebell swings or kicking in martial art practice, it could be the “parking brakes” in your locked up hips that are robbing you of the power. In some instances, people have sore low back because they got tight hip flexors and would immediately feel a relief in the low back when the hips are loosened up. If you think you are one of those people with tight hips, can’t quite squat properly due to poor hip mobility, and wants to improve your performance in your exercise and athletic performance, we have 5 stretches for you to boost your hip mobility.

But be sure to follow the 4 tips below on how to get into better stretch before you try those hip stretches that follow.

(1) Stay mentally calm and not distracted

(2) Wait for tension of the stretch to go away before stretching further. In the meantime, breath deeply and slowly as you wait for the tension to go away

(3) Inhale through the nose and breath deep into the belly before exhaling through the mouth to initiate stretch further

(4) Stretch to the point where you feel comfortable and not to the point where you feel like you will be tearing yourself up

If you are ready to get your hips to perform better, squat, kettlebell swing and deadlift better, here are the 5 hip-loosening stretches we recommend that you do.

(Photos & Demonstration courtesy of Frances Moylan Perth SFG Kettlebell Instructor whom can be found on http://instagram.com/francesatgetresults )

Stretch #1 – Froggy

Froggy

1. Get down on all fours and rest your forearms on the floor

2. Keep knee joints aligned with the hips (as seen above)

3. Spread the knee joints apart as far as you can until you feel the stretch in the inner thighs (still maintain knee and hip joints alignment and ensure neutral arch on the low back)

Stretch #2 – Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

half kneeling hip flexor stretch

 

1. Set your left foot forward (as seen in the picture above)

2. Chest up and keep both side of the hips evenly square up to the front

3. Move your hips as far forward as possible and at the same time contract your right butt cheek muscles (you should feel the stretch on the hip flexor on your right which is above your right upper thigh)

4. Repeat step 1 to step 3 on the opposite side

Stretch #3 –  Splits Against the Wall

split against the wall

1. Sit upright, have your hands behind you and spread legs apart against a wall (see pic above)

2. Make sure knees do not bend

3. Feel the stretch in the inner thighs and front part of your hips

Stretch #4 – Split & Lean To The Side

lean towards the side

1. Set up stretch #3 (Split Against The Wall) and have your left hand planted down between your legs in the space on your front (see pic above)

2. Have your right hand on the floor behind your back (see pic above)

3. Hinge from your right hip joint and lean towards your right knee (avoid rounding your spine)

4. Repeat step 1 to 3 on the opposite side

Stretch #5 - Prying Squats

prying squats

1. Have your feet set up about shoulder width apart.

2. Keep your spine straight and hold onto an upright or something similar that is secured (see pic above)

3. Move your hips down to about the level below your knee joints where you can still keep your spine straight (see pic above)

4. Then start stretching the inside of the left hip by pulling the left knee to the left side as seen in the last 2 pics below.

5. Repeat on right side and then repeat again on left and so for until you feel completely stretched.

pry1

pry2Alright! If you ever give these 5 hip stretches a go or have any questions/feedback, do let us know how you go by leaving a comment below. It would be great if you would “SHARE” Or LIKE” this blogpost on Facebook.

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weight loss despairHaving trouble losing bodyfat? Despite having to slogging away in the gym and lifting weights 3 times a week, you find that your body just refused to change for the better. It could be that you have eating habits that stop you from making a breakthrough in fat loss. If you are serious about getting into better shape and health, you certainly want to quit the following 5 damaging eating habits that may have your fat loss come to a halt.

Habit #1 – Drinking Sports Drinks

sports drinkObviously, everybody knows that drinking coke is bad for health and fat loss due to the fact that it has high level of sugar. But drinking sports drink which has been widely promoted to be performance-enhancing due to it electrolyte content is just as bad. It is full of sugar that will spike insulin and promote fat storage in the body. Unless you engaged in ultra distance type of training such as Ironman or marathon race, there is no need for sports drink.

Habit #2 – Eating Too Fast

If you take less than 10 minutes to finish a meal, you are eating too fast for your brain to register fullness. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to receive the signal from the gut that you are full. Imagine not receiving the fullness signal and gouging all the food in sight at a buffet, you would certainly eat more than you need. To eat less and feel full, aim to eat slowly at each meal, take about 20 minutes, drink regular sips of plain water and put your fork and spoon down regularly.

Habit #3 – Having Toast For Breakfast

toastThis is a common practice I see in most people who struggled to lose weight. Having a toast first thing in the morning is not exactly the best way to lose body fat. Why? The toast is processed and it’s predominately carbohydrates that will spike your insulin and promote fat storage first thing in the morning. Very often, I find people we coached experienced the difference in matters of week when they switched over to a protein-based breakfast.

 

Habit #4 – Eating Excessive Starchy Carbohydrates

starchy carbsIf you are looking to lose body fat, one of the first things you should look at is the amount of starchy carbohydrates you are taking. Starchy carbohydrates are things like bread, pastas, corn and potatoes. It is not uncommon that the body may not tolerate carbohydrates very well and as a results may struggle to drop fat due to the high intake of starchy carbs. If you have been struggling to shift the weight for some time, the best bet is replace your starchy carb intake with cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflowers and limit to a small amount of starchy carbohydrates to post-workout meal.

Habit #5 – Alcohol Consumption

beer (2)If you are into the habit of drinking alcohol with your meal every evening or every other day, the chances of losing body fat is going to be very slim. The body just stops burning fat when it is trying to break down the alcohol in the liver. No matter how hard you train, you will never succeed in losing body fat if you binge drink. The great news is, if you drink quite abit, you can dramatically improve your chances of fat loss if you lay off the alcohol for  an extended period of time. I have found from running the 12-Week Leaner Fitter Stronger challenges, participants get the best results when they lay off the alcohol for a month. To learn more damaging effect of alcohol on fat loss, click here.

Habit #6 – Drinking Fruit Juices

Although eating whole fruit is healthy because it provides vitamin, minerals and fibre that the body needs, but it is not necessary the same thing if you have fruit juices. Fruit juices are processed because it does not have same fibre content as the whole fruit and most likely have added sugar to make it taste better in the ones found in the supermarket. The best thing to do is have whole fruit and limit it to post workout meal if you have trouble losing weight.

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One of the biggest fears I often get from ladies is how they may look too manly if they engage in some form of serious strength training which is unfounded of course. And I always point to them how the ladies I trained in the advanced strength training class were every bit looking like a lady. In fact, the strong ladies in the advanced class look fabulous. They would do exercises such as heavy kettlebell swings, bodyweight pull ups, double kettlebell front squats and deadlifts their bodyweight for sets of 5 reps. But I do demand they have to perform those heavy lifts with strict form and own the lifts and the weights they lift as it is necessary for safety and how it would develop true strength.

Strong girls snatching at Get Results PT

As a results of undergoing strength training, developing and performing strict lifting techniques and following a set program, not only do I notice massive increase in strength in the group but also how strength training with kettlebells, barbell and bodyweight can have such a positive impact on a female physiques and confidence.

And we have one girl named Frances who trained with us for awhile (I’m sure it is more than 2 years) who had made a massive difference to her body by not focusing too much of her look and weight on the scale but more on how she improved in her strength and overall fitness. In fact, her progress has come as a pleasant surprise because she initially came to Get Results PT not completely sold on the training but just wanting to try out kettlebell training. I remember when she first started training with us, she could not managed a single pull up and struggle to do a Turkish Get Up with 8kg.

frances cleans

Buns of TrophyNow, she can do things like 1 rep of 20kg kettlebell weighted pull up and Goblet Squats with a 40kg kettlebell for 5 reps with no problem. BTW, they’re no easy feats and guys may find them a challenge. She even won the Buns of Steel trophy in some dance competition. Seriously, if you have not focused on the strength side of fitness, you have missed out a great deal of benefits. 

In November 2013, Frances underwent the highly vigorous 3-Day Perth StrongFirst Kettlebell Instructor Certification and has attained her instructor Cert and now qualified to teach kettlebells. BTW, this Cert she has achieved requires much more than average fitness and demands high level of lifting techniques and strength. As a results of her dedicated training with kettlebell and training for strength, there is no doubt her body got way more ripped than before. 

Here’s the interview right below that I did with Frances about how she benefited from the strength training and use of kettlebells. In this interview, she will share how she got so strong and how strength training help her shape up. 

Frances SFG I Deadlift

TC – How did You End Up Training at Get Results PT? Were you kind of skeptical about this whole kettlebell training? Were you even after kettlebell training?

Frances, SFG – I ended up at Get Results PT, after my partner Matt decided he was interested in doing Kettlebell training. I watched a few youtube videos of people performing kettlebell exercises and thought it looked interesting, so I said I would go along with him. Nothing too serious, just to see what it was all about.

TC -What benefits have you experienced from training at Get Results PT?

Frances, SFG – Improved posture, kettlebell has improved my posture drastically! I had rounded shoulders and slouched before I started KB training with TC. Other benefits are strength, increased muscle tone and confidence. I would have never thought I was able to achieve what I have in relation to strength.

TC – Have you tried other stuff or other training before? If you have, is there any difference in the approach of training? If there is, could you explain further?

Frances, SFG – I have tried various types of exercise before, mainly self motivated things like swimming & distance running. I was also learning Pole Dancing when I started doing Kettlebell and I kept getting the same injury in my group pole classes, which was frustrating me so I was looking for something new to try with a more individual approach.

The group training I attend with TC is very one on one, it’s like you have your own individual PT even though you are in a group class. TC breaks down every part of each group of exercises and you learn the very basics. TC’s knowledge of sport science and kettlebell programming means that he understands your body and where your weaknesses and strengths are. TC helps you understand what you need to do, so you can focus on gaining overall improved strength. This has worked for me, especially in terms of following TC’s programs.

What Do You Currently Do in terms of exercise wise to Stay in Shape?

Frances, SFG – At the moment I train 3 times a week (1/2 hr sessions) with the advanced KB group class. Once a week I do a one hour stretch & flex class at Bobbi’s Pole Studio which really really stretches everything out, helps my mobility and makes me feel great! I also train on my own a couple of times a week. I do one 10- 15 min swing/ squat session and the other is another half an hour strength session, designed by TC. I also try and do my program called ’6 min ABS’ each day because its so quick its easy to fit in and gets my heart rate up.

How do you feel about being getting stronger from strength training? (Mentally and any carryover effect to daily life?)

Frances, SFG – Personally, I love the feeling of achievement that getting stronger gives you. You can tick the weights that you conquer and ‘own’ off your mental checklist, and when you do and it feels like an achievement. I am training to become an Iron Maiden so my strength training at this stage has a particular application. For me having something to aim towards with my training (even if they’re small goals like getting one more pull up) helps keep me focused in all areas of life.

Strength is functional so the carryover effect in my daily life is that now my Mum calls me often to help her shift heavy things around. Haha.

TC – In terms of physical shape, have you notice any difference? In your opinion, was the number on the scale important in terms of gauging progress?

Frances, SFG – To me the number on the scale is not important, it is always how you feel. I am one of those people who tries not to weigh themselves often, I think that the only thing that is really helpful from scales is the body fat percentage.

I have definitely noticed a difference, I feel like I’m more lean and toned. I have gained more of a butt from squats which is always a good thing. My abs are more defined now, I can permanently see the top two of the six pack (even after Christmas) and most importantly, I actually stand up straight now!

TC -What are the things you have achieved? Did they actually occur to you possible right from the beginning?

Frances, SFG – Feeling as strong as I do, is definitely an achievement that I never thought possible. I never imagined being able to do pull ups, ever and now my PB is 13. I never in my wildest dreams thought I could go for a StrongFirst certification, pass the physical testing then start seriously thinking about the possibility of attempting the Iron Maiden.

TC How important do you think to learn and actually be able to perform exercise with good techniques on the impact of gaining strength?

Frances, SFG  -  Correct technique is very important to strength gain, you will never get stronger if your technique is bad. Learning new exercises is not just about your muscles gaining strength, it is about teaching the body new movement skill without stressing out the central nervous system. You need to understand and practice correct technique in order to get improved strength and avoid injury. I find for me personally there are always little things that I try and think about to improve my technique. Nobody is ever perfect, there is always room for improvement, even if they are only very minor adjustments.

TC – Did you think women should have any fear of training with heavy weights? (You know ladies are fearful of bulking up just from touching weights. LOL)

Frances, SFG – I think it’s so silly that some females have this fear that if they even look at heavy weights they are going to suddenly be engulfed by a gigantic set of traps and biceps that turn them into the hulk.

Training with heavy weights means increased muscle density, this does not mean you are going to suddenly get big. Yes, you will see increased muscle tone (but who doesn’t want that), it’s not going to be bulky mass. Females have to try very hard to bulk up, our bodies don’t respond to muscle gain in the same way male bodies do because we aren’t full of testosterone. If you want to lose fat, you must gain muscle which is where training with heavy weights comes in.

TC – What do you think about kettlebell as a tool to help women get into better shape and becoming stronger?

Frances, SFG I – I personally love how little time it takes to start seeing an improvement with kettlebell training, the fact that we train for half an hour sessions is great. Even for the busiest people there is no excuse. Kettlebell exercises are full body work outs, you are never just focusing on one part of your body you are thinking of your body as a whole.

TC -What would suggest to a person reading this and wanting to get in shape and actually get stronger?

Frances, SFG  - If you decide to take up kettlebell training you are going to get stronger, guaranteed. With the gain in strength & replacing fat with muscle means you will be in better shape and will feel better, what’s not to love about that. Be warned though, KB training is addictive, be prepared to work hard but love your training sessions. You need to put in to get the results. There is no quick fix for getting in shape, you must be dedicated to making it part of your lifestyle.

TC – Thank you for reading this blog post. Okay here’s the video proof below that Frances did 13 strict pull ups and 2 reps with a 48kg kettlebell goblet squats. 

frances sfgBTW , if you live in Perth and looking to go from average fitness to seriously fit and strong or help with your StrongFirst Kettlebell Instructor Cert preparation, Frances will be available at Get Results PT to show you the way. Remember Frances did not start out doing 13 strict pull ups or Goblet squatting the Beast. She did not even managed one pull up to start with. But she did go through the right training and understand what’s needed to be implemented in the training program to get you there. To contact Frances for training at Get Results PT, click on the yellow “REGISTER” button below.

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kettlebells

Kettlebell Is A Training Tool

Kettlebell is a training tool or implement and not a training method itself. How you use them very much depends on your goals. And how you use the kettlebells determines the outcome of your training. Say if your goal is to develop explosive strength so that you can sprint faster, then swinging the kettlebells is a great way to develop explosive strength in the hips for quicker sprints. If your goal is fat loss, swing the kettlebells with rapid hip extensions because fast muscle contraction burns more calories and boost metabolism more than slow muscle contraction. Yes you can press or squat with kettlebells. But it does not mean you will know how to use the kettlebells if you know how to use the barbells.

You Need To Know How to Use It

Just because you happened to google it, saw the kettlebells in the Biggest Loser TV Show, or know a friend who used the kettlebells and lost 10kg does not mean simply using the kettlebells anyhow will get you the same training effects. If you don’t have a clue about how to use the kettlebells it is best that you seek professional instructions. So don’t hurt yourself by trying it out if you’re unsure. BTW, because you hurt yourself using the kettlebells does not mean kettlebell training is dangerous. It’s because you don’t know how to use it that’s why you got hurt. So where do you learn how to use the kettlebells in an effective and safe manner? My recommendation is get in touch with kettlebell instructor certified either with StrongFirst or Russian Kettlebell Challenge.

There Is NO Trying

Quite often, many people make the mistake of trying it out. The problem with the “Try It Out” attitude rarely works when you train with the kettlebells. There is many nuances in the use of the kettlebell. Sometimes, it is because of lack of focus on the finer details that people get nothing out of the training . Having trained many people with kettlebells, I found that people who make the most breakthrough in their training are the ones that pay close attention to the finer details and make effort to improve the lifting techniques. Yes there is a lot of skills and details involved in the use of the kettlebells. So pay close attention to the instructions given to you from your certified kettlebell instructor if you ever hire one.

Learn How to Swing the Kettlebell Properly Before You Get Too Fancy

Get the basics right first before you get too fancy with the kettlebells. Kettlebell swings is one of the most important foundational moves in kettlebell training. Although, it looks very simple and basic but it is one kettlebell move that requires plenty of perfect practice that will pay off big time and improve your overall general conditioning. The swing teaches proper hip hinge and powerful hip drives that are required in snatches and cleans. If your swings are not up to scratch, neither will your snatches and cleans. If you can’t clean the kettlebell to the rack position properly, you are not gonna do very well with the press too. So for now, keep it simple, forget about juggling and do alot of swings and get your form right. To learn more about how to do the kettlebell swings, click here.

You Can’t Swing With Cute Little Kettlebells

There is no point swinging those cute little bells that you can do bicep curls easily for 5 to 10 reps easily. If you can bicep curl your kettlebells easily for reps, you won’t be able to swing properly with hip drive because it won’t need to. BTW, “swinging” little bells as compared to heavier bells does nothing for your core muscles and offer minimal or no conditioning or cardiovascular effects. When the kettlebell is heavy enough, you have to stop using your arms to lift the bell and instead you have to start using your hip and that will get your heart “pumping” harder. So start swinging decent sized kettlebells if you want better fitness.

Kettlebell Sizes You Should Be Using

According to the book “Enter the Kettlebells“, an average woman should start with an 8 kg kettlebells and a strong woman should start with 12kg. Eventually, most women should be using the 16kg. And average men should start with 16kg.

Do The Turkish Get Up

If you want to develop total body strength, performing the Turkish Get Up with the kettlebells will challenge the core muscles and help develop total body strength and strong mid section. To learn more about how the Turkish Get Up is done and why you should do it, click here.

Not All Kettlebells Are Created Equal

chipped off kettlebellsIf you want to avoid disappointments like I had before, I recommend avoid powder coated or paint coated kettlebells because the paint will crack and chip off. Then there is the Prograde and Classic kettlebells to choose from. So which one should you buy then? It really depends. The Prograde kettlebells are uniform in the shape, dimensions and handle thickness across all weights.  And the classic kettlebells gets bigger and handle thickness increases as the weight increases. Personally, I prefer the e-coated version of the classic kettlebells due to its high durability and handle thickness. They do not rust or chip off and thicker handles are great for grip strength.

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Getting Lean & Strong With Leaner Fitter Stronger Challenge

January 10, 2014

If you live in Perth, never really got anywhere in terms of losing bodyfat, achieving fitness and better health and want to stop spinning the wheels, our Get Results PT 12 week Leaner Fitter Stronger Challenge may help you get off that vicious cycle. It’s a fitness & physiques coaching transformation program that helps anyone […]

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8 Strong Reasons Why You Should Take Strength Training Seriously

January 1, 2014

Regardless of whether you are an serious or recreational athlete or just someone who is exercising for better health and looks, you can benefit greatly from strength training. Unfortunately, most people who exercise do not take strength training serious enough to get the best benefits from it. They either do not do enough or were […]

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6 Tips to Eating Less Crap Food

December 11, 2013

When it comes to fat loss, there is no way you can successfully get into better shape and  health without eating less crap food. Even if you beat yourselves up with exorbitant amount of exercise the chances of getting into a better & healthier physiques can be elusive. Personally, I believe it is about eating […]

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How To Do the Kettlebell Swings Correctly

October 10, 2013

Kettlebell swings can help you develop power, strength and lose fat. But are you doing it right? Make sure you get your swings right by reading this blog post.

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Losing 3 Dress Sizes in 9 Weeks With Kettlebell Training

June 24, 2013

If you are still on the fence wondering whether you should give kettlebell training a go, here is another reason why you should do it if your goal is lean up and get fitter and stronger. One of my clients at Get Results PT just recently gone from dress 10 to 7 in 9 weeks. […]

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Kettlebell Swings – Why You Should Do Them

June 20, 2013

If you have not tried the kettlebell swings or have not exactly figured how to do the kettlebell swings, you have missed out on some of the great benefits that comes with this basic exercise in kettlebell training. Although it is a basic kettlebell exercise, there is a lot that the kettlebell swings can do […]

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